Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review: The Bitches of Brooklyn

The Bitches of Brooklyn by Rosemary Harris

How well do you trust your man and your best friends? The Bitches of Brooklyn is a clever romance mystery novel that brings 5 friends' trust into question.
Apologies for the short notice but I won't be making our little reunion this year. I've run off with one of your men.
I'm not a huge mystery fan, but I really enjoyed this kind of "whodunit" novel. I loved going back and forth trying to guess who the man was! It was an interesting way for each girl's insecurities in their relationship to be exposed and for them to deal with those insecurities and possibly fix the relationship.

Harris is an excellent, sophisticated writer. There are lots of details with the 5 Bitches, their men and everyone else they meet and at times it was a little overwhelming keeping track of everything. This was a good stand alone novel with an epilogue that tied up any loose ends.

I think this story would make an intriguing movie. I know it was based off a classic Hollywood film, so I could definitively see a remake in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars. The trill of discovering which man Abby ran off with kept me from putting the book down. A great combination for Romance and Mystery book lovers.

*ARC from Netgalley

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Who's Your Baby Daddy?

Who's Your Baby Daddy? By I. Ronik

When a book comes with a "warning" that it is a humorous parody, not to be taken seriously, I was preparing myself for some serious LOLs. (And I was not disappointed!)
I knew she didn't have sex with all of them, but enough of them that I was left wondering if we needed to buy stock in a condom company.
At first I wasn't sure what I thought about the book, it seemed like every other "romance" novel - the worst things happen to the main characters: someone gets knocked-up, two people can't be together for some silly reason etc etc. But Who's Your Baby Daddy? throws you a curve ball!

I thought the ending was very clever and I really did not expect it. It was refreshing that these Vapid Vixens understood how I felt about many of your average romance novels and they were able to make fun of it. I am eager to read more by the Vapid Vixens.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars. This was a fun short read, great for reading at the beach or by the pool. I would recommend this book to adult romance novel readers who need a break from the norm and are in need of some laughs.

*ARC from Netgalley

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

King Cake Tarts & Bars

**Update to this Blog**

Mini King Cake Tarts

I decided to make individual King Cake Tarts using the same recipe below.

Instead of using a 9"x13" dish, I used my mini muffin tins and pressed the crust into each cup.

It took a little more prep time but they only baked for 12 minutes.

The Mini King Cake Tarts looked so fancy and great for a party!

King Cake Bars

So last year I tried two different King Cake recipes and discovered that it was one of the hardest things to bake. Both cakes came out crusty, like bread.

This year I decided to try something different. A recipe for King Cake Bars was circulating on Pinterest so I decided to see if they really tasted like King Cake.

I started by making the crust and pressing it into a greased 9'' x 13'' dish. A good tip for adding the cold butter is to grate the butter using a box grater. Makes perfectly size butter pieces that mixes easily into the dough.

Next I made the filling. I used my stand mixer to beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and cinnamon together. I doubled the amount of cinnamon to 1 teaspoon and I think next time I make these bars I will add some cinnamon to the crust as well.

Then I spread the filling onto the crust. I baked the bars for 30 minutes. It took my oven that long to turn the crust golden brown and for the filling to set.

I made the glaze and decided to make my own colored sugar using food coloring. Making green and yellow was easy, creating the purple didn't go so well. I ended up with a dark reddish purple. I plan on buying some purple dye for the next time.

I poured the glaze over the bars once I took them from the oven and then sprinkled very lightly with the colored sugar. (I'm not a huge fan of the crystal sugar on king cakes. I just wanted it to be festive.)

These bars turned out amazing! I would recommend eating them warm for maximum deliciousness!

Everyone agreed that they make a great substitute for King Cake. Now we can have King Cake all year round and people who don't live in Louisiana can enjoy these treats as well!

King Cake Bars

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks cold butter
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For the Filling:

  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • Colored sanding sugar or sprinkles (purple, green and gold)

For the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flour and sugar. Drop in the butter cubes and beat on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and looks a bit like wet sand. Add the milk and beat until it starts to stick together. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press it in to form an even layer, making sure there are no holes or gaps.

For the Filling:

Wipe out the mixer bowl and rinse and dry the paddle. Beat the filling ingredients together until completely smooth. Spread the filling evenly over the prepared crust. Bake the bars for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set.

For the Glaze:

While the bars are cooking, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and milk until completely smooth. As soon as you remove the bars from the oven, spread the glaze in an even layer across the top. Immediately decorate with sanding sugar. Leave the bars to cool completely, then slice.
(Recipe Source The Christian Science Monitor.)

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Spiraling by Rachel Cross

A romantic tale of a champion skater and Hollywood heartthrob just in time for the Olympics!

The one word I kept thinking as I read this book was INTENSE.
Despite everything she still loved him. Didn't understand him, wanted to kill him, but she loved him.
There was a lot of drama for both characters, too much drama for one book. I think the story could have been "slowed" down and spread out over a series of books, because at times I felt the plot movement was choppy.  Sometimes it would be the next day and other times months would have gone by.

I thought this was going to be a sweet romantic story but I was 
surprised and a little taken aback by all the sex!
...he and Amy had spent the last two weeks between his sheets learning every inch of each other's bodies...
It feels like this book was written for YA, but the language and risky content pushes this novel into the Adult Romance category. In my opinion the graphic sex was not necessary and took away from the developing relationship between Amy and Shane.

I was 60% in before I finally believed in the feelings between Amy and Shane. I finally began to see how these two broken souls were good for each other.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars. This is an intense, heavy read and it will be out just in time for the Olympics.

Spiraling is available January 27, 2014, you can pre-order it on Amazon.

*ARC from Netgalley

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Top 5 Books or Series of 2013

Since I wasn't able to write a book review for every book I read in 2013 (though this is a goal for me in 2014) I wanted to write a list of my top 5 books/series that I read in 2013.

#5 Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

I found out about this book on Lauren Conrad's blog.

This is the story of 3 best friends who feel everyone they know is getting married! How relatable! The book is a collection of stories that all are semi connected by the three girls - Isabella, Mary and Lauren. It tells of their jobs, boyfriends, struggles and more. Have a dead-end job? Feel like you are always attracted to the wrong guy? Have trouble getting along with your in-laws? We learn of marriages, divorces, babies and more as we ride the roller coaster of emotions with these women.

I really related to the girls in this book. Their stories felt very real and genuine. Growing up is hard and life can be frustrating! This book makes you feel like you aren't the only one with problems!

I think the big take-a-way from this book was not the worry about everything. Everything happens for a reason, things will work out, and I am not the only one with these thoughts and feelings. And most of all - don't let the pressure of everyone you know getting married affect your relationship. Every relationship is different and moves at it's own pace.

An important thing to note is that this book isn't a story with a beginning, middle and an end. It's a slice of these 3 women's lives. There is not always an obvious point or reason for each story in the book. It is best to go into reading this book with an open mind. If you are in your mid-20s, this is a great read for you!

#4 Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

Fans of Adult Erotica novels will enjoy Beautiful Bastard! If you loved 50 Shades and want a face paced steamy novel this book is for you! I rated it 5 out of 5 stars and plan on reading it again and again! To read my full book review please visit -

This is a series of 3 books: Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, Beautiful Player; and 3 novellas: Beautiful Bitch, Beautiful Bombshell and Beautiful Beginning.  Since I loved Beautiful Bastard, I am dying to read the rest of the series, and they are on my Must Read list in 2014.

#3 Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares

This is a series of 5 books (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood, Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood and Sisterhood Everlasting.)

I was instantly drawn to this story of 4 best friends because it reminded me so much of my best friends in high school. I could easily relate to all four of the characters in many different ways. I was Lena: shy and cautious, Tibby: sarcastic and a little rebellious, Carmen: emotional and the glue of the friendship and Bridget: impulsive and at times reckless.The bond these 4 girls shared reminded me so much of my BFFs.

No matter how different they are or how far apart the pants keep them connected. Sadly, as the girls grow up and apart their lives take them in different directions and they try to use the pants to hold onto their friendship. And by the time we get to the 5th book the girls have really grown apart. This hit very close to home for me because I haven't really stayed close with my high school friends. Sure we email or Facebook, but the connection that was once there has faded.

I initially saw the 2 movies based in these books years ago and thought they were great. I finally got around to reading all the books this year and discovered how truly amazing they were!

#2 The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

I loved this series by Veronica Roth! I would definitively recommend these books to fans of The Hunger Games. I gave Divergent 5 out of 5 stars - to read my full review please visit

I was surprised with how the series ended. It was not what I expected, so be prepared for some plot twists and turns as you read Insurgent and Allegiant.

I am anxiously awaiting the Divergent movie coming out in March 2014. It stars Shailene Woodley, and she's one of my favorite young actresses. I think she will make a great Tris and Theo James will make a VERY handsome Four.

#1 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Have you ever read a book that foreshadowed its ending within the first few pages? And then you couldn't tear yourself away as you fell full speed into an emotional crash? That's what happened to me while reading The Fault in Our Stars

You should know before getting into this book that it is the story of 2 teenagers with terminal cancer. That being said, it is an amazing story that will touch your heart. 

I really appreciated John Green's sarcastic humor throughout the book. I found myself laughing on one page and then crying on the next. It was definitively an emotional roller coaster, but one I would ride again! 

The Fault in Our Stars movie comes out June 6, 2014 and I can't wait to see it. It stars Shailene Woodley, who I am calling the current Hollywood IT Girl because she has been in a number of great movies in 2013.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Books to Read in 2014

I'm making my 2014 To Read Book List. I always like to check out what books are going to be hitting the big screen so I can get a jump start and read those before seeing the film. A few of the books on my 2014 list are being made into movies (Here is a great list from Buzzfeed), some are from a book series and others are just books I've been meaning to read.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I started this book last year and just didn't find the time to finish it. Now that Ben Affleck is taking the big screen as Nick, I must find the time to read this series!

The Beautiful Bastard Series by Christina Lauren

I loved Beautiful Bastard so I have to read the rest of these books! I love Christina & Lauren's writing style and the fast pace of these books.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

To be honest, I had not heard of this book until I read about the upcoming movie. It reminds me of a few other movies like Valentine's Day or Love Actually where it is told from multiple points of view. Although it differs greatly in topic - people who are wanting to end their lives, I'm hoping this will be an interesting read.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I read The Giver back in school as required reading. I don't really remember much, probably because it was over my head at the time. I'm excited to reread this book before the movie comes out. I'm also excited for the movie because I'm a BIG Taylor Swift fan and can't wait to see her on the big screen again.

 What books are you looking forward to read in 2014?